Winter Championship Final double in Kingsclere duo’s sights

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  • July 18, 2023
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Cambridge trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood are happy to take their shot at a rare winter feature race double.

The Kingsclere Stables training partnership will head to Ruakaka with two runners on Saturday, with Urban Myth in the ITM/Gib Progressive Winter Championship Final (1600m) and Tough Test Harry in the ITM/Gib 3YO Winter Championship Final (1600m), both as TAB favourites.

It’s a stable that doesn’t have a lot of runners through winter, perhaps best illustrated by the number of heavy track starters in the five years since the partnership began, just 86 out of 1029 starters in that period.

“We don’t have many racing at this time of the year so it’s nice to have a couple of form ones,” James said.

Four-year-old Vadamos gelding Urban Myth looks superbly placed in the Progressive final, going into the race as a two-win horse in the special conditions event, the most recent of those a fast-finishing Rating 65 victory at the track earlier this month.

It wasn’t a pretty win, with jockey Ryan Elliot covering plenty of ground in the run, but James said that was more by necessity.

“He’s not an easy ride but Ryan gets on with him well and gets the best out of him. You’re not able to ride him pretty at times, you’ve just got to ride him where he’s happy,” he said.

“Three starts back on the poly at Cambridge, he was extremely aggressive to the extent where he was dangerous and he was put on warning after the race. He’s been like that his whole life, but Ryan has struck a chord with him.

“We’ve got a very good lady who rides him in work, Myra, and she sees him as a challenge and has done a lot of work on him. Every day you’re just trying to get him to back off and settle that bit better.

“He hasn’t been an easy horse but we’re going the right way with him.”

James was pleased with Urban Myth’s progress since his last win and expects a similar effort this weekend.

“He’s always had a good amount of ability and this looked a really suitable option for him. It was a good effort last time so he goes into the race in the right form,” James said.

“It doesn’t look like there’s a star in the field and he’s a definite chance again.”

Time Test gelding Tough Test Harry has yet to finish worse than second in his three starts to date and he goes into the three-year-old final as a form runner.

“He’d won two trials prior to stepping out on raceday and Vinnie (Colgan, jockey) was quite impressed with him when he won on debut, saying he only did what he had to,” James said.

“He was probably a bit unlucky at his next start and even the other day, he had one on his inside that would let him cross to the front and had he crossed to the rails, the winner would have had to come around him and that might have been quite a different story.

“As it was, the horse that kept him out ran wide on the turn and he was out in the middle of the track and I don’t believe he saw the horse that snuck through on the rail to win the race. Late in the piece, when he did see him, he picked up again.

“His run had a lot of merit. He’s only had three runs for a win and two seconds and he’s very much on the way to better things.”

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